Chugai licenses out early-stage cancer candidate to Menarini

Chugai follows on from its majority owner Roche in outlicensing a P13K inhibitor.

Japanese biopharma Chugai, majority owned by Roche, has licensed out an early oncology prospect to Italy’s Menarini Group.

The deal will see a subsidiary of Menarini, the cancer-focused biotech known as Berlin-Chemie Menarini, get its hands on PA799, a class I PI3K inhibitor.

The drug came out of Chugai’s lab and has already been through a phase 1 for solid tumors in Europe, in which it “showed a good safety profile in the clinical trial,” according to a statement.

Virtual Roundtable

ESMO Post Show: Highlights From the Virtual Conference

Cancer experts and pharma execs will break down the headline-making data from ESMO, sharing their insights and analysis around the conference’s most closely watched studies. This discussion will examine how groundbreaking research unveiled over the weekend will change clinical practice and prime drugs for key new indications, and panelists will fill you in on the need-to-know takeaways from oncology’s hottest fields.

Monetary terms were not released, as is becoming increasingly common for these types of licensing deals, but Chugai is to get an undisclosed upfront payment, with additional biobucks in the form of milestone and royalty payments in the future.

Under the agreement, Chugai has granted Menarini Group an exclusive license for the manufacturing, development and marketing of PA799 across the globe.

“We are pleased to sign a license agreement for PA799 with Menarini Group,” said Chugai’s representative director, president and COO Tatsuro Kosaka.

“PI3K is assumed to be one of the important kinases in the signaling pathway for the proliferation, the differentiation and the survival of tumor cells. We hope that the development of PA799 by Menarini Group will bring benefit to the patients as early as possible.”

Chugai, 62% owned by Roche, appears to be following suit of its Swiss Big Pharma partner as a month ago, Roche too got shot of its cancer med GDC-0084, also an inhibitor of the phosphoinositide-3-kinase (PI3K) pathway.

It too was in phase 1, but for an aggressive brain cancer, and was sold off to Oz biotech Novogen for around $5 million, with more expected to come down the line.

Read more on

Suggested Articles

Novartis is forging ahead with the development of spartalizumab in "many, many other indications" despite the setback.

Chi-Med has detailed plans to seek approval from the FDA later this year in part on the strength of data from Chinese phase 3 trial.

Takeda tapped Roche’s Foundation Medicine to develop tissue- and blood-based companion diagnostic tests for its portfolio of lung cancer therapies.